As the structure of the novel is rather odd, so is the style. As mentioned before, a great deal of the insight into the characters and the feelings of Amory Blaine, and some of the action are only revealed in poems and letters. While these make the novel rather difficult to read, they leave a lot of room for analysis to a sophisticated reader. Besides that, the vocabulary is quite complex, too, maybe because it is somewhat outdated.

As stated earlier, the novel totally focuses on Amory Blaine, which supports his idea of being the superior being. However, as the author changes the structure in the chapter Amory meets Rosalind, it comes clear that she is just as important to Amory as he himself is to himself.

Fitzgerald also makes great use of the headlines throughout the novel. Many of them draw the reader’s attention towards facts in the text and hence help her to understand the ideas the author wants to express in these passages. For example, the heading “Amory Coins a Phrase” (p. 250) informs the reader about the importance of what is to come and makes him search anxiously for that phrase.

On the other hand, the author sometimes lets the omniscient narrator directly address the reader to point out a fact in the first person as on page 193: “Don’t misunderstand! Amory had loved Rosalind as he would never love another living person.” On top of that, the omniscient narrator starts with a flashback in the beginning of “Young Irony” – Chapter 3 of Book Two – and then decides: “I see I am starting wrong. Let me begin again.” (p. 206). These passages make the story very lively, as if some person just tells it and it is not written down in a book.

A rather original stylistic device is the use of a chart that shows the definition of “The Slicker” in comparison to “The Big Man” as Amory and a friend had just discussed it. Another is an enumeration of Amory’s states of mind from his youth to his junior year in college.

In the last Chapter of the second Book, there is a rather interesting internal dialogue in Amory’s mind. Fitzgerald uses this to answer questions about Amory and his situation, without to have to invent a person he speaks to or the omniscient narrator to tell the reader. As this dialogue evolves into a stream-of-consciousness-technique, the reader gets insight “into his [Amory’s] mind’s most familiar state—a grotesque blending of desires, worries, exterior impressions and physical reactions.” (p. 239)

Fitzgerald uses language to express Amory’s way of thinking several times. When Amory does not care about his life and gets drunk – Book Two, Chapter 2 –, his language becomes senseless as well and he more mumbles than talks. Earlier in the novel, the author genially shows his snooty attitude combined with his northern accent by letting him declare: “Aw—I b’lieve, doncherknow, the Umuricun revolution was lawgely and affair of the middul clawses.” (p. 8)

© 1999 by Timo Baumann at, all rights reserved.

Cover · The Author · Summary · Main Theme · Structure · Style · Opinion · Bibliography